Lombok ➡️ Singapore

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Waking up at a reasonable time (7am) it was of course difficult to get Lewis out of bed as usual. We had packed up last night so we just had little things to sort out and pack. Luckily Silk Air has a 30kg bag limit so we could shove everything in there instead of carrying it on the plane. 

 

Breakfast at the Sheraton was the usual affair with the live pianist in the background as I ate my last breakfast of rice and noodles and Lew his toast and donuts. We had a quick picture by the pool as we left our Bali/Lombok Lonely Planet guide that Averill gave us in the pile of books for someone else to ponder over.

 

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Dragging all our bags to reception we pay the final bills and got in a Blue Bird taxi to the airport. It only took just over an hour to get to the airport when they told us 1.5 hours. We noticed that a lot in Indonesia, they could never seem to get their timing right. Oh well it's not the worst thing in the world to be at the airport early! It also only cost us 193,000 rupia ($19.30 NZD) when initially when picked up by Mr Kutut a week ago we paid 350,000 rupia ($35 NZD) for the same drive. Moral of the story is the Blue Bird taxi is by far the cheapest, unless you want a driver for a day. Expect to be screwed over at least once when you first arrive until you learn how much things really cost. 

The international airport in Lombok was pretty run down looking despite being built in only 2011. They put us through metal detectors and scanners on the way in before you get to check in, then again through "security" and then again through customs and further scanners before you get to your actual gate! Such a mission but I guess it makes you feel rather safe. They didn't seem to care abut the multiple bottles of water I was carrying until the final check. They also didn't make you get all your liquids into a small plastic bag despite us having it prepared. Somehow we managed to get our bagged just under 60kg with 600g to spare! We have no idea how this continues to add up as we are not the exactly having shopping sprees! 

Silk Air felt very safe and Lew was lucky enough to have a window seat and could video with a suction cup GoPro mount to the window. It was almost as if the pilot knew he was videoing as he did a big turn up past Kuta and our favourite beache Selong Balanak and up past the summit of Mt Rinjani. Ever since we had taken off I was feeling a tad nauseated but it was manageable. Unfortunately I had put my first aid kit under the plane so didn't have access to all my magic drugs for nausea! The flight attendants started handing it meals randomly and Lew and I thought we had gone with the no meal option so we were surprised when we did actually get a meal. I was still struggling with my worsening nausea but managed to eat a little bit of the chicken, rice and beans we were served. Lew has demolished it. Once the meals had been collected I started to get really cold and sweaty and knew something was about to happen. I grabbed the vomit bag but it didn't exactly open straight away and Lew had to rip it open for me. Still managing to hold it all down I excuses myself to the bathroom but found the air hostesses were still collecting lunch trays! So here I was feeling terrible holding a vomit bag in the middle of the isle in front of a full plane just praying that I wasn't going to vomit in front of them all. Thankfully not but I sat in the bathroom for a bit managing to feel better with my head in my hands. With only two bathrooms on the plane I'd figured there would be a line waiting and I'd better head back to my seat. I sat for the remainder of the plane ride with my head against the seat in front of me managing to read in order to distract myself. Thankfully the nausea subsided slightly and I was able to get off the plane. Sorry if any of that was too graphic for you (Mainly you Paul! (Lewis's dad)). 

Changi airport in Singapore was so clean compare to Indonesia. We would have even eaten off the floors it was that clean. Picking up our bags went smoothly and next thing we are out organising a way to the Fragrance Hotel Riverside where we were staying. There were numerous options - an Uber, a taxi or the train. Trying our luck with the train we went in search for the ticket office after speaking to the information desk. The initial lady was very unhelpful and told us we had to go "Up, down and across!" And when I tried to ask further details she just repeated herself! But we followed her words and came across a place where you could buy a 1-3 day train and bus pass for tourists. However, we were there for 4 days but there wasn't an option for that. Leaving the line we went to have a think about what we would do for this one extra day. Deciding that could be the day we leave as we would just be going to the airport anyways we got back into the line. We were next but one of the office girls poked her head out the door and said the office would be closed for two minutes whilst they change shift. Once they re opened we then found they wouldn't accept our visa card (only MasterCard) and we had to leave the line yet again to use the one cash machine close by. Not only did we get charged our bank conversion fee but the machine took a cut of it as well adding up to be about a $15 transaction fee on top of the $100 we drew out. This time after going to the back of the line again we managed to get our passes. Dragging our bags to the train platform unenthusiastically Lew managed to work out the stops we needed to do to get the closest to our hotel. The subways were so clean and easy to use, nothing like the ones in NYC where they are littered with trash and have a rat infestation. I followed Lew like a little puppy dog and he got us to the Raffles Place station and we had to walk 10 minutes through the streets in the humid, hot weather. We had two large wheeled bags (weighing a total of 60kg alone!), a wheeled carry on suitcase and two back packs so we were pretty loaded up. It was so nice not to be followed and constantly asked if we needed a taxi. Although in saying that of you needed one it wouldn't just come to you! 

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The hotel was not what we were expected. We were asked on check in whether we wanted to upgrade our "Superior room" to one with a window 🤔 . Why they would bother naming it superior when it really should be "Budget" I will never know! I kept reminding Lew that we had just come from the Sheraton and we needed to lower our standards..... a LOT! I have to admit the room was better than the tent we had on Rinjani, a shower and a clean bed. But the bathroom was one where the shower is just in there and everything gets wet. The bed was pretty lumpy and small - Lews legs would hang off the end. But it would provide a clean base for us to come back to after a busy day in the city. 

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After a quick bit of research about the trains, food and what to do we used an app called CityMapper (highly recommend!) to route our way to the Ion Orchard Road. It told us the train lines to use and how many stops before you and to get off and walk to another train line or your destination. Very handy and we managed to go quite a long way in a short period of time. Walking into the mall there were something like 8 stories of designer shops - Gucci, Prada etc with pristine floors. If only they were all Indonesian prices! We were looking for a eatery called Charlie's & Co but we were told it was in a new location. Lew was beginning to get hungry so we walked multiple levels to find the food court. After being directed to the elevators we realised that the basement itself had 4 levels and the food court was actually below the train lines on level 3. The food court was incredible with tonnes of locals speaking different languages all together. Majority of the food was Asian which I was very excited about. Lew on the other hand I knew would have preferred something western. We found a food court within the food court called The Food Opera which is a modern version of a Hawker. There was an overwhelming amount of places selling Asian food and I knew the hangry Lewis was coming out shortly. Lew said he wanted either chicken teriyaki or sweet and sour pork so feeling the pressure I set about finding these amongst the chaos. This one place has prepared food with something that looked like sweet and sour pork so we got that plus some bok choy and noodles/rice for $7 each. Lew was still starving and went back to find two slices of pizza for $9 totally regretting after he finished. 

With it being only 6.30pm we headed back to the train station and planned on walking around the Gardens by the Bay as the sun went down. Navigating the train lines again with Citymapper half and hour later we were down on the waterfront. Still humid at that time of night we walked into the park observing the Supertree grove. There are parts of the garden you have to pay for but this part is free. The Supertree grove are large metal tree like structures between 25-50m high with plant and flowers growing up them. They have photovoltaic cells on the top of them so they can harvest solar energy used to create a garden rhapsody light and sound show at 7.45 and 8.45pm each night.  We didn't actually know there was a light show until Lew over heard someone talking about it so we decided to hang around.

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The place was full of people and the slight drizzle didn't keep the selfie sticks away. After walking around we realised how exhausted we were and found a couple of seats to wait for the show. At 7.45pm the trees all went dark and it began. They had made an amazing job of getting the colours, lights and music go all work together and I think the story we had was Chicago as I recognised some of the music. It only last for 15 minutes and during that time we started to walk back to the train station to avoid the rush whilst watching the trees on the way. Seeing as we had no wifi I was unable to get Citymapper to tell us how to get home but looking at the train map in the terminal we figured it out easily. 

Walking back to the hotel we were pleased that there were escalators everywhere as our legs were still recovering from trekking Mt Rinjani. We had been hobbling around everywhere since the day after we got back when it hit us all of a sudden! We showered which involved the entire bathroom getting wet because of the set up and did some research on our phones about the plan for tomorrow before heading to sleep. The best thing about Singapore so far is that you can drink the water from the tap and we don't have to waste plastic bottles everyday! 

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Shannen KennedyComment